Remote desktop and Windows 8

Today I used remote desktop to connect to a Windows 8 PC for the first time and this posed 2 small but interesting challenges for Windows users with habits like mine:

1) How do I enable remote desktop on the Window 8 PC?

So, as in previous Windows versions this is a property of the computer, but if you normally accessed this from the "Start" menu then you'll need to find a new way to get to it. You can do this by adding the "Computer" icon to your desktop. So right-click on the desktop, choose "Personalize", then chose "Change desktop icons" and add the "Computer" icon to your desktop. Then a right-click on this icon lets you access the "Properties", one of which is "Remote Settings"


Another way to get to this is through "Control Panel\System and Security\System" - there may be numerous other methods, but these two will do it.


2) How do I switch between Win8 desktop mode and Metro UI from the remote machine?

So this desktop switching is new anyway, and the only way I've known how to do it so far is to use the "Windows" key. But that key now controls my remote machine; so if I've switched to desktop mode (using the "Desktop" tile) and want to get back to Metro UI, how do I do that without a "Windows" key? Well it turns out there are multiple switching methods (as documented in Dr. Z's post) but I couldn't get these to work so easy in my remote desktop. My solution was to use the on screen keyboard or "osk". To get this you just need to run osk.exe. You can open an explorer window and type osk in the address bar. Once you have the on screen keyboard you can use all of the Windows key shortcuts. So, hitting "Windows key+C" brings up the charms menu, where you can click on "Start" to return to the Metro UI. Alternatively, hitting the Windows key twice will accomplish the same.

Disclaimer: At this stage I am still feeling my way through the Windows 8 preview release and so there may be faster better ways to use it remotely, which I may learn in time and may then add to this post.